Notable Alumni

The University of Houston produces dynamic leaders who leave their mark in meaningful and substantial ways. From law, education, science and business to the arts, our alumni’s contributions and accomplishments are truly what make them Cougars. To view our notable alumni, click on the categories below.


Anica Landreneau (’05)
Associate AIA, LEED AP, WELL AP, BREEAM leads the global sustainable design discipline and consultancy practice at HOK. She is a member of the firm’s board of directors and design board.

James Petty (’08)
Architect with buildings around the world and founder of PostScript Studio, an architecture-development-construction studio in New York City.

Saman Ahmadi (’05)
Principal architect at Kendall/Heaton Associates. He served as the Project Manager for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Expansion by Steven Holl Architects.

Lauri Goodman Lampson (’88)
President and CEO at PDR, a workplace consulting, design and architecture firm. Lampson advises the world’s most influential industry leaders, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Hines, HP and Sonos, developing strategies to break through barriers to innovation and position their organizations for the future.

Mara Marcu (’05)
Tenured associate professor at the University of Cincinnati, co-establishing architectural robotics and receiving the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Marcu is founder of MMXIII.


Julian Schnabel (’73)
American painter and filmmaker who directed “Before Night Falls,” which became Javier Bardem’s breakthrough Academy Award-nominated role, and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” which was nominated for four Academy Awards.

“The Art Guys” (’84)
Jack Massing and Michael Galbreth are award-winning artists whose work in sculpture, drawing, performances, installations and video have been widely reviewed in contemporary circles.

Denyce A. Graves (FS ’90)
Opera singer

Robert Brandon Flores (’92)
UHAA Rising Star for Achievement recipient

Michael Ray Charles (’93)
American painter whose work and research are an investigation into the legacy of historic racial stereotypes of African Americans

Andrees Latif (’00)
Pakistani-American photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer


Guy V. Lewis (’47)
Former American basketball player and coach. He served as the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Houston from 1956 to 1986.

Coach Tom Landry (’52)
Famed head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-1988

Bill Worrell (’69)
Primarily known as an NBA play-by-play commentator for the Houston Rockets. He has been regularly commentating Rockets games for the past 32 years, and he won the UHAA Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015.

Wade Phillips (’70)
Three-year starter linebacker for UH. He is also an American football coach who is the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. He is the former head coach of the NFL’s Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys.

Fuzzy Zoeller (FS ’73)
American professional golfer who has won 10 PGA Tour events, including two major championships. He is one of three golfers to have won the Masters Tournament in his first appearance in the event. He also won the 1984 U.S. Open.

Nick Faldo (FS ’76)
British golfer that has won six major golf events and more than 30 titles on the European Professional Golf Association tour

Fred Couples (FS ’80)
Professional golfer who has won 57 professional tournaments, most notably the 1992 Masters Tournament

Carl Lewis (FS ’82)
Inducted into the Athletics Hall of Honor and a recipient of the President’s Medallion, this American former track and field athlete won 10 Olympic medals, including nine gold, and 10 World Championship medals, including eight gold

Doug Drabek (FS ’83)
Former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He is currently the pitching coach for the Single-A Hillsboro Hops. Known for his fluid pitching motion and sound mechanics, he won the National League Cy Young Award in 1990.

Hakeem Olajuwon (FS ’84)
UH basketball player who starred in the legendary Phi Slama Jama team era. He was a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He ended his career as the league’s all-time leader in blocks, with 3,830, and is one of four NBA players to record a quadruple-double.

Elvin Hayes (’85)
One of the very first UH African American professional basketball team members, retired, and radio analyst for the Houston Cougars. He was a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Billy Ray Brown (’85)
Former American professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour and a current on-course reporter for Golf Channel and commentator for CBS Sports

Carol L. Lewis (’89, ’92)
Won 10 individual and three team championships in track and field. Received a UHAA Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006 and was inducted into the UH Athletics Hall of Fame.

Leroy Burrell (’94)
Head track coach at UH for 18 seasons and a former world record holder in the 100 meters

Andre Ware (’96)
American sports analyst, commentator and a former American football player. He was the 1989 Heisman Trophy winner as a quarterback for the University of Houston

Clyde Drexler (’03)
Star basketball player during the legendary Phi Slama Jama team era. Served as the head coach for UH men’s basketball from 1998-2000. During his career, he was a 10-time All Star, member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Olympic Gold Medalist.

Shannon Miller (’03)
Miller is currently the second most-decorated American gymnast of all time, behind only Simone Biles. She is the only female athlete to be twice inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame. She is also in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Case Keenum (’10)
Played quarterback during his time at UH, quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League and was signed by the Houston Texans in 2012


The Honorable Welcome Wilson, Sr. (’49)
Former Regent of the University of Houston System and Chairman of the GSL Welcome Group — a privately held real estate development firm

Kenneth L. Schnitzer (’51, ’56)
Visionary Texas real estate developer and civic leader whose 30 commercial buildings form much of the Houston skyline

Sam P. Douglass (’54, ’56)
Co-founder of Service Corporation International, NYSE: SCI, where he served as president and chairman of the executive committee

Don D. Sykora (’57)
Known for his extensive tenure with the Houston Lighting and Power Company, which began in 1956

The Honorable Gene McDavid (’65)
President of the Houston Chronicle from 1990-1998

Joseph Rodney Canion (’66, ’67)
American computer scientist and businessman. Canion is a co-founder of Compaq Computer Corporation where he served as its first president and CEO.

The Honorable John J. Moores (’70, J.D. ’75)
American entrepreneur, philanthropist and former owner of the MLB’s San Diego Padres

Richard Rawson (’72)
President of Insperity, a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions for America’s best businesses

Nick (’73) and Vicki Massad (Former Parent)
Nick Massad is president of American Liberty Hospitality which develops, owns and operates an extensive portfolio of hotels throughout the southwest. Vicki Massad serves as the company’s senior vice president.

Doug Brooks (’75)
Chairman, president and CEO of Brinker International, one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies

Aylwin Lewis (’76, MBA ’90)
Chief Executive Officer and President at Potbelly Corporation

David M. McClanahan (MBA ’76)
Former President and CEO & Director of CenterPoint Energy

The Honorable Stephen I. Chazen (MFIN ’77)
Chairman and CEO of Magnolia Oil & Gas Corporation; HWG Campaign Executive Committee

The Honorable Tilman J. Fertitta (FS ’78)
American businessman, entrepreneur and the chairman, CEO and sole owner of Landry’s, Inc., one of the nation’s largest restaurant corporations

The Honorable Margaret Spellings (’79)
President and CEO of Texas 2036; Former U.S. Secretary of Education.

Dominic Ng (’80)
Chairman and CEO of East West Bank, he was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award by UHAA in 2015.

Mark G. Papa (MBA ’80)
Former Chairman and CEO of EOG Resources, Inc.

Alan Gershenhorn (’82)
Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for UPS.

Cheryl Creuzot (’81, J.D. ’92)
President and chief executive officer for Wealth Development Strategies, L.P.

David A. Williams (MBA ’92)
Make-a-Wish Foundation President and CEO

Marvin E. Odum III (MBA ’95)
Former president of Shell Resources Energy Company; HWG Campaign Committee co-chair

Carlos de Aldecoa Bueno (’97)
President at Maximus Coffee Group, LP

Matthew Mullenweg (FS ’04)
Co-founder of WordPress, the blog platform


Arleigh Templeton (M.Ed. ’50, Ed.D. ’60)
Bold and imaginative educational leader whose work spanned more than three decades: League City Public School (Supt); Clear Creek Independent School District (Supt); El Campo Public School (Supt); Alvin Public School (Supt.); Alvin Junior College (President); and three university presidencies (SHSU, UTSA and UTEP).


Jack Valenti (’42, ’46)
Longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America and the press secretary to President Lyndon B. Johnson

Larry Blyden (’47)
American actor, stage producer, director and game show host

Walter Coblenz (’50)
Film producer who made a name for himself producing “The Candidate,” starring Robert Redford

Tom Jarriel (’56)
Retired American television news reporter who worked for the ABC network from 1964 to 2002

Dan Rather (’57)
American journalist and the former news anchor for the CBS “Evening News”

Kenny Rogers (’58)
American singer, songwriter and record producer. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame

Peter H. Roussel (’65)
American press secretary and public relations executive

Townes Van Zandt (FS ’67)
Texas singer-songwriter who was accepted into the pre-law program

Tommy Tune (MFA ’68)
American actor, dancer, singer, theater director, producer and choreographer who, over the course of his career, has won 10 Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts

Larry W. Gatlin (’70, ’71)
American country music singer-songwriter

Brent Spiner (FS ’71)
Actor, comedian, musician and singer who is best known for his role as Lt. Commander Data on the television series “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Loretta Devine (’71)
American actress and singer best known for her roles as Marla Hendricks in the Fox drama series “Boston Public” and her recurring role as Adele Webber on Shonda Rhimes’ “Grey’s Anatomy”

Randy Quaid (FS ’71)
American actor nominated for a Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award and an Academy Award for his role in “The Last Detail.”

Dennis Quaid (’74)
American actor nominated for Best Supporting Actor from the Golden Globe Awards, the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Quaid was also honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award in April 2012.

Robert Wuhl (’76)
American actor, comedian and writer. He is perhaps best known as the creator and star of the television comedy series, “Arli$$.” He was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award in April 2012.

Brett Cullen (’79)
An American actor who has appeared in numerous motion pictures and television programs, including “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The West Wing.” He was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award in April 2012.

Jim Nantz (’81)
Anchor on CBS Sports

Rushion McDonald (’83)
Television producer for shows such as the “Steve Harvey Show,” “Sister, Sister” and the award-winning “Think Like a Man” movies. He received the UHAA Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015.

Alice Sebold (MFA ’85)
Author of “The Lovely Bones,” “Lucky” and “The Almost Moon”

Star Jones (J.D. ’86)
A former senior district attorney for New York City, she went on to gain fame as a legal commentator for Court TV in the early 1990s and then became a legal correspondent and analyst for NBC’s “Today” show and “NBC Nightly News.” Jones went on to co-host the ABC woman-centric talk show “The View” for nine seasons.

Christopher Theofanidis (’90)
American composer whose works have been performed by leading orchestras from around the world, including the London Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Moscow Soloists, among others.

Dominique Sachse (’90)
Houston news anchor for KPRC TV 2

Robert Flores (’92)
Anchor for ESPNews and for ESPN’s Sports Center and a winner of the Rising Star Award for Achievement in 2015

Jim Parsons (’96)
American actor who received several awards for his performance in “The Big Bang Theory”

Christine Hà (MFA ’13)
Masterchef Season 3 winner who graduated with an MFA in creative writing


Mary Kay Ash (’43)
Famous American businesswoman and the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.

Elsa Rosborough (’46)
A model for over six decades, she was the first woman to model maternity fashion.

Victor Costa (’58)
Legendary fashion designer whose name is synonymous with revolutionary artistic vision, business savvy and impeccable-yet-affordable style

Karen W. Katz (’82)
President and CEO of Neiman Marcus Group, Inc.

Chloe Dao (FS)
Fashion designer

Law / Politics

Judge Ruby Kless Sondock (’59, ’61)
First woman to serve on the Texas Supreme Court

John O’Quinn (’65, ’67)
Texas trial lawyer and founding partner of The O’Quinn Law Firm (formerly known as O’Quinn & Laminack)

Congressman Tom DeLay (’69)
Former member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas’ 22nd congressional district from 1985 until 2006 and serving as House Majority Leader from 2003 until 2005.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (’70)
American academic and politician, who is the senior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.

Congressman Gene Green (’71, J.D. ’77)
U.S. Representative for Texas’ 29th congressional district, serving as a member of the Democratic Party since 1993

Senator John Whitmire (’75, ’76)
Whitmire represents the 15th Senatorial District comprised of north Houston and parts of Harris County.

Jack M. Rains (J.D. ’76)
Rains is a Houston attorney and previously served as the 95th Secretary of State of Texas.

Mayor Sylvester Turner (’77)
Elected the Mayor of Houston in 2015, Turner served as a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1982 to 2016.

Kathryn J. Whitmire (’68)
Mayor of the city of Houston, Texas, from 1982 to 1991.

Richard “Rascehorse” Haynes (J.D. ’56)
Texas criminal defense attorney. TIME magazine once referred to him as one of the top six criminal lawyers in America.

Byron G. “Pappy” Bond (’50)
Former Houston Police Chief

Howard W. Pollock (J.D. ’69)
American politician and Republican Representative

Judge Wendell A. Odom (J.D. ’51)
Judge in the highest court in the state — the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Judge Criss Cole (J.D. ’54)
Texas legislator and judge

Congressman Bob Casey (J.D. ’67)
Member of the United States House of Representatives

Charles A. Saunders (’45)
Served as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Houston, president of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and was an academician of The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law. Saunders practiced law for 65 years and served as General Counsel for the American Lung Association.

Johnny Goyen (’47)
Houston City Councilman who has a park named in his honor on Main Street.

Ken Bailey (’69, J.D. ’72)
Founding partner of the civil litigation law firm Bailey Peavy Bailey, PLLC and UHAA Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, 2015. He was also presented with the University of Houston President’s Medallion in 2011.

Phillip Zelikow (’77, J.D. ’78)
White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia and executive director of the 9/11 Commission.


B. Montgomery Pettitt (’75)
Director of the Sealy Center for Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas

John McGivney (’47)
Dedicated his life to volunteering and opened a children’s center in Windsor, Canada


Major General Barrye L. Price, Ph.D. (’85)
Commanding Officer of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, he was inducted into the United States Army Hall of Fame.

Brigadier General Rick Noriega (’84)
President and Chief Executive Officer of AVANCE, he was inducted into the United States Army Hall of Fame.


Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel (’48)
Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel of Houston from 1943 to 1975 who delivered the inaugural prayer for Lyndon B. Johnson


Bernard Harris (’78, MBA ’99)
Former NASA astronaut who, on February 9, 1995, became the first African American to perform a spacewalk during the second of his two Space Shuttle flights.

Bonnie J. Dunbar (Ph.D. ’83)
Retired NASA astronaut

Emily Leproust (Ph.D. ’01)
CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience

Linda Sagarnaga Magill (’79)
Anesthesiologist and humanitarian who is helping pioneer the concept of portable anesthesia services in Texas.


LeRoy Melcher, Sr. (’33)
Former chairman of the alumni board of University of Houston and the UH Foundation. Melcher Hall is named after him.

Cynthia Woods Mitchell (’43)
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at UH, which is named in her honor, commissions and produces new works, presents public performances and exhibitions, offers curriculum and scholarships, and hosts residencies with renowned visiting artists from throughout the world.

Roy H. Cullen, Jr. (’57)
Long serving member of the Cullen Foundation and served as chairman of the board from 1998 to 2014

Leroy Hermes (’66)
Chairman of UH System Board of Regents since August 2005

Brené Brown (MSW ’96, Ph.D. ’02)
Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair at UH GCSW; author of five No. 1 New York Times Best Sellers

Submit an Alumnus/a for Consideration

The alumni who are included in our Notable Alumni listing must meet certain criteria. Other names may be added at the discretion of the Alumni Association. To submit a name for possible inclusion, learn about the criteria, and complete the form below.

Notable Alumni Selection Criteria

  • Individual (UH Graduate) who obtained a degree from the University of Houston; individual (Former Student) who took 30-plus credit hours, noted by year of last completed coursework; individual (Certificate Graduate) who completed a certificate program, noted by year of completion.
  • Made significant accomplishment or contribution
  • Contributed to a major discovery or advancement
  • Recognized as an expert or leader in field or profession
  • Received local, national or global recognition
  • Devoted significant time and effort to improving lives and communities through volunteering and/or public service
  • May include active, former and retired roles